‘Show’ing Off

FFA Hosts Livestock Jackpot, Community Invited to Attend


On Nov. 5 and 6, the Cedar Park FFA chapter will host its second annual livestock jackpot show at the school barn. Lambs and goats will be showing on Saturday, and swine will show on Sunday. Students are welcome to attend either day’s shows and watch Cedar Park FFA members show their livestock animals. (Photo Courtesy of Hayden Green)

Kacey Miller, Reporter

This weekend, the Cedar Park FFA chapter will be hosting its second annual livestock jackpot show at the school barn. The show will start at 6 a.m. both days, with lambs and goats showing on Saturday and swine showing on Sunday. Money that is raised at the jackpot will be used to fund other FFA events, such as chapter meetings. The show is open to the community, and those who attend will be able to sit in bleachers to watch.

To get ready for the jackpot, CPFFA members have held barn cleanups and created spreadsheets to help budget the costs of the show. CPFFA chapter officer and swine showman senior Alexa Burke has spent the last few days making sure everything is ready for the weekend.

“I have spent almost every day after school this last week clearing out old cattle pens and sow pens,” Burke said. “[There are some] areas [in the barn] we haven’t used in a while, so [other FFA members and I] have been deep cleaning. The jackpot is a way for us to have money for our FFA Chapter and for the barn, but it’s also a great way for new showers from our barn and others to get an experience in showing [their animal] and to practice showmanship and get used to being back in the show ring.”

Besides showing two pigs named Blackjack and Reba, Burke competes in LDEs (Leadership Development Events), CDEs (Career Development Events) and SDEs (Speaking Development Events).

“For LDEs, I am on the quiz team and the ag issues team,” Burke said. “For CDEs I do horse judging, and [for my SDE] I do a speech at the end of the year about animal science. I love the experience and the time commitment that I can [have in FFA]. I want to put my time into it. I understand animal science, I understand showing [animals]. I love the people in FFA and the relation[ships] I have been able to make over the last few years.”

To get her animals ready for the show, Burke said she works on her pigs’ showmanship, which is the ability of the animal to look good and behave in front of a judge. For swine, a shower must keep their pig walking fluidly, with their head up.

“[I’m] making sure my pig’s hair is in tip-top shape,” Burke said. “I’m washing every day, baby oiling everyday. Making sure they’re walking right. Also making sure that they don’t get sick, [and that] they’re on the right feed; they’re not losing weight. The night before [the show], I’ll make sure they get washed, baby oiled, lathered up, and [then in] the morning I brush them out right before I show so that they are looking great. I don’t think [showing two animals] is going to be hard on me, because there should be enough time in between classes to get my pigs ready.”

Burke said she enjoys helping out with a livestock show, and is excited to do so this weekend.

“I’m looking forward to just being able to show again and be able to run a show,” Burke said. “On Saturday, when I’m not showing, I’ll be either working the [show ring] gate [or] working the microphone. I’m also looking forward to hopefully winning a buckle, or a banner. I really want one, and I’ve worked hard for them. I think I have a really good shot at placing first [in my class], and then getting into the breed drive. I also have a better shot because I have two animals.”

When she’s not showing her animals, Burke said she’ll be rushing around doing whatever she can to help keep things running smoothly.

“I’ll be [at the barn] as soon as it opens at 6 a.m. [both days], making sure everything’s clean, everything’s running right,” Burke said. “[I’ll] probably help out with weight cards, because weight cards will be due early in the morning. [I’ll also be] helping out with gates, doing ribbons, doing banners, [working] the microphone. Helping out whoever needs help.”

First-year shower and sophomore Lizzy Johnson said the jackpot will be the biggest show she’s competed in, and is excited to see how her and her goat, named Franklin, do in the ring.

“The jackpot is going to be a big show for me because I haven’t done many [of them],” Johnson said. “I feel like it’s going to be one of [my] best ones, [though]. It will probably be really crowded, [but] it’s going to be a good experience for me because I haven’t put myself out there with a lot of people. I [also] hope I’ll be able to place. This being my first year, I don’t know [a lot] about goats or livestock in general, but I hope this show will encourage Franklin and I to do good in the arena.”

Johnson is not currently competing in LDEs, CDEs, or SDEs, but is planning on joining some next year. Until then, she said she’s working on continuing to build her presence in FFA.

“Meeting new people [and] working with animals is a big passion of mine, [but] at first I was kind of nervous [to join FFA],” Johnson said. “Once I got settled, I started to enjoy it and wasn’t scared anymore. The officers here are really supportive and great. For those who want to do FFA, you should. It’s really fun. I like the community, and how it feels like a big family. I really feel a part of it.”

Anyone is welcome to watch the show, Burke said, and encourages students and community members to support the CPFFA members showing this weekend, as well as to see the showers from other schools that come to compete.

“We are expecting a lot of people,” Burke said. “Anyone can come watch. We’ll have stands, so if you want to come out and support some of your friends, or are interested in [FFA], come on out, watch, support. The alumni will be there and they’re going to grill, so we’ll have food, cheeseburgers and stuff like that. The show is at our FFA barn, right next to the [Cedar Park] middle school track field. Come support.”